Open Hand & Wrist Surgery

Open hand and wrist surgery is surgery through an incision in the area of the hand and wrist and is most commonly used for carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, arthritis, and all types of hand & wrist fractures.

What to Expect

Open hand and wrist surgery is done either as an outpatient or as an overnight stay procedure. Prior to surgery you will be asked to see your primary care doctor for “medical clearance”. They may check blood tests, EKG, and a chest x-ray in addition to other tests they find indicated.

Once surgery is scheduled, the hospital or surgery center will contact you ahead of time to provide specific details about your procedure. Please make sure to ask any questions you have and follow the instructions on when to arrive and especially on when to stop eating or drinking prior to surgery.

On the day of surgery, the anesthesia staff will talk with you about anesthesia options. You will be asleep for the procedure and often a regional nerve block is recommended to numb the hand and wrist and arm for pain relief.

Once in the operating room, you will be positioned so that a clear view of the hand and wrist can be obtained. A member of the surgical team will clean the skin over the hand and wrist with an antiseptic solution and a sterile drape will cover your hand and wrist. Typically the incision is made over the fracture or area of reconstruction. At the end of surgery the incision is closed with stitches and covered them with a large, soft bandage.

Postoperatively you will stay in the recovery room for 1 to 2 hours before being discharged home or to the hospital floor. Nurses will monitor your responsiveness and provide pain medication, if needed. You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first night if you go home.

Recovery from hand and wrist surgery depends on the procedure performed but takes several weeks and a few months before full recovery. Physical therapy will play a vital role after surgery in regaining strength and motion.